Part Two of a Series

God does everything according to His Divine order and He never deviates from His basic plan.  Yet, He is flexible with the details.  It has been such a thrill to see the patterns in the feasts of Israel.

In our previous study, Origins, we had ended by referring to the first two of the seven annual feasts of ancient Israel.  We will begin with them today, and conclude this part of our series next month.

God foretold the end-time Kingdom, as well as the Church Age, which lay thousands of years in the future, when He initiated these holy convocations not long after Israel's exodus from Egypt.

I am still a student of the feasts of Israel, and I rely on the experts for a more detailed explanation.  I had only planned to do a general teaching, but in my research, I got caught up in the infinitely meaningful and profoundly hidden prophetic system that God established through these celebrations, which were to be held by Israel every year.

As a Christian-Jewish Rabbi, Zola Levitt has a deeper knowledge of this fascinating subject than most.  His book "The Seven Feasts of Israel" is the source of most of my research (besides the Bible, of course), and I would be remiss not to give him acknowledgement.  I encourage you to get his book, as it is a more complete study than what I have borrowed here.

The preachers and teachers a few generations back did not stress the importance of the Old Testament, mainly because it had not been considered as significant as it is today.  It was mostly viewed as a book of Biblical history and the roots of Christianity.  By the time I entered Bible school in 1966, the Church was beginning to have a fuller understanding of the Old Testament.  Our Apostle, Glen W. Ewing, referred to the Old Testament as "types and shadows of the New Testament."  I began to realize that the Old Testament prophets foretold many events that had not or have not yet come to pass.

I now know that before the Prophets, the feasts which God ordained in the third book of the Bible were as up-to-date as most of the New Testament, and as futuristic as the book of Revelation.

As we enter the last days of the Church Age, knowledge has greatly increased.  We finally see that the "Old Testament is actually the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed" (Perry Stone).  One completes the other.

Leviticus 23 is a concise list of instructions and observances (beginning with the weekly Sabbath) that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, concerning all the yearly feasts for the chosen people.  The Jews still observe these holy days as best they can, without access to their temple in Jerusalem.

Before the Lord returns to rule for one thousand years, Israel's temple will be rebuilt.  Work on the robes, furniture, and temple instructions has been taking place for years.  They are even considering putting together a "pre-fab" temple, stored away, so that it can be erected immediately.  Even the Sanhedrin have been re-established!

Everything is almost ready.  The King is coming!  Sadly, most of Israel doesn't realize that it is Jesus they are awaiting to take David's throne in Jerusalem, to begin His Kingdom reign.

It is an awesome undertaking to attempt to explain the Seven Feasts of Israel, with their meanings for Israel, as well as past and future prophecies for the Church.  Thank you, Zola, for helping us Gentiles to understand our Jewish roots and our Christian future.

To begin, it is necessary to know that God's calendar is a lunar calendar based on the phases of the moon rather than the earth's revolutions around the sun.  Each month starts with a new moon, reaching a full moon in the midst of the twenty-eight day cycle, on day fourteen.


The first feast of the year begins with Passover, to be held at the beginning of spring.

"In the fourteenth day of the first month at evening, is the Lord's Passover" (Lev. 23:5).

Since Israel had recently celebrated it with Moses as their deliverer (please read Exodus 12 and on), God only needed to refer to Passover in a single verse, and merely assign its date.  Passover always falls on a full moon, which is the first full moon of spring.  The twenty-eight day lunar cycle is in harmony with nature, as the moon governs the rise and fall of the tides of the sea.  In Hebrew reckoning, the day begins at sundown, or moonrise. (I first realized this when I read, "And the evening and the morning were the first day" Gen. 1:5.)

All of the other feasts are based on Passover or on a simple numbering of days from a given point.

The meaning of Passover is certainly the feast of salvation.  "On this day, because of the blood of the lamb" (male, without blemish... Exodus 12:5), the Hebrew nation was delivered from the bondage of slavery from Egypt in the Old Testament and the Christian was delivered from sin under the New Covenant (Testament).  Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb on Passover.


The second feast begins on the next night.

"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread" (Lev. 23:6).

God told the Jews to eat only pure, unleavened bread during the week following Passover.  In the Bible, leaven (yeast) symbolized sin and evil.  Unleavened bread, eaten over a period of time (seven days), symbolized a holy walk, as with the Lord.  The apostle Paul, as a Jewish scholar, commented on the feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread and revealed the Christian meaning:

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump as you are unleavened.  For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor.5:7-8).

The unleavened bread in the New Testament is, of course, the body of Christ.  He is described as "the Bread of Life."  He was even born in Bethlehem, which means in Hebrew "House of Bread."

The matzoh bread that today's Jews eat during the week of Unleavened Bread is a perfect picture of Jesus.  It is pure white (without sin), striped and pierced, and of course without leaven.  ("By His stripes are we healed."  "They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.")  Christ fulfilled the first and second feasts with His death on the cross.  As His followers, the Church has and is partaking of both feasts as well.


The third feast is held on the Sunday following Unleavened Bread:

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When you come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it" (Lev. 23:10-11).

God wanted a special feast during which the Israelites would acknowledge the fertility of the fine land He gave them.  They were to bring the early crops of their spring planting ("First Fruits") to the priest at the Temple to be waved before the Lord on their behalf. This was to be done "the morrow after the Sabbath," or on Sunday.  Since the feast of Unleavened Bread was seven days long, one of those days would be a Sunday and that Sunday would be First Fruits each year.

We have come to call this feast Easter, after the Babylonian goddess, Ishtar, the pagan goddess of fertility.  We even continue to worship the objects of fertility -- the rabbit, the egg, new clothing, etc., but the celebration was to be over God's replanting of the earth in the spring.

The term First Fruits implies that there is a second, third and so on, which is the real meaning of the feast.  The resurrection of our Lord occurred on this very day, and this also represents the resurrection of the entire Church!  We shall all be resurrected and go to heaven, just as the Lord did, "Every man in his own order."  The Apostle Paul presented this brilliantly:

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Cor.  15:23).

Paul makes the real point of the feast very clear.  Apparently, we all have numbers and are resurrected in the order that we are saved.  Christ's number was one.  He celebrated the feast of First Fruits by coming out of the tomb and becoming the first man to be permanently resurrected.

Jesus chose the very day of First Fruits, just as He had fulfilled the exact day of Passover and Unleavened Bread, each with the appropriate action.  Jesus even presented His proper First Fruits offering to the Father.  Matthew 27:53 tells us that the graves were opened and holy people rose and were seen walking the streets of Jerusalem after Jesus' resurrection.  The Lord, like the early Jewish planter, gratefully showed the Father the early crops of what will be a magnificent harvest later on.  We believe that this will be the Rapture of the Church.

First Fruits was the last of the feasts that the Lord was seen personally fulfilling on earth.  But His ministry to the Church was to go on, of course, in the ensuing feasts, and again, each on their appropriate days.


The fourth feast was held fifty days after First Fruits.  God gave very specific directions for counting of the proper number of days until the Feast of Harvest, which we refer to as Pentecost.

It actually marked the summer harvest, the second of the year, in which many more crops were available than at First Fruits (but still not as many as would be forthcoming in the great fall harvest):

"And you shall count unto you from the morrow after Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord" (Lev. 23:15-16).

Again, the feast of Pentecost occurs on a Sunday, "the morrow after the Sabbath (Saturday)," exactly fifty days after First Fruits. I have been skipping over various directions for the feasts, but two verses in Lev. 23 are of particular interest, which show God's careful planning for the future:

"You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals, made with fine flour, and baked with leaven: they are the firstfruits unto the Lord" (Lev. 23:17).

These subtle instructions indicate a great truth.  These two "wave loaves" are of equal weight and baked with leaven, and are called "firstfruits."  Since they are baked with leaven, they represent sinful man... and since they are called "firstfruits," they are redeemed or resurrected men.

It appears that God is predicting here that the Church would be made up of two parts, Jew and Gentile.  There has always been a remnant of Jews in the Body of Christ, but there will be the greater body of Jews joining the Church in the Kingdom at the Second Coming when "all Israel will be saved" (Zechariah 12:10; 13:1, Romans 11:26).

The Lord joined His disciples after His resurrection and taught them for forty days (Acts 1:3), and then told them to wait at Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come. The Holy Spirit did come exactly on the day of the feast (Acts 2:1), the fiftieth day, and gathered a harvest of three thousand souls.  (Ironically, it was three thousand souls that were killed on the day Moses came down from Mount Sinai, for worshiping the golden calf, Exodus 32:28. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.)  Jesus was able to present a greater harvest unto the Father than at First Fruits, which was exactly in keeping with the purpose of the feast of Pentecost.  Of course, this was only a token of the great harvest to come in the Rapture of the Church.

I hope all you readers are as impressed with God's clever ways of doing things as I am. I think it is so amazing how He hid all those precious futuristic truths pertaining to His Son and the Church within the feasts He imparted to Israel, (and most of the Jewish people still don't know it...)  As the kids say "God ROCKS"!

We need to stop here, and continue through the last three feasts to conclusion next month.

God Bless You All,
Pastor Moser
October, 2005